How Hill Holliday Created Relief Effort One Fund Boston in Seven Hours

Foundation for Bombing Victims Draws $10 Million in Donations Within Days

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Within hours of the twin bombings at Boston Marathon Monday, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick were brainstorming ways to help victims of the terror attack that killed three and wounded more than 180 victims.

They conferred with Jim Gallagher, exec VP of John Hancock, which has title-sponsored the race for years. Then, on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., Mr. Gallagher got on a conference call with Mike Sheehan and Karen Kaplan, Hill Holliday CEO and president, respectively. Within seven frenetic hours of that conference, Hill Holliday created One Fund Boston, a foundation designed to help victims.

Hill Holliday's digital team working on The One Fund: Michael Walton, Kyle Ridolfo, and John Running, senior VP-technology and innovation.
Hill Holliday's digital team working on The One Fund: Michael Walton, Kyle Ridolfo, and John Running, senior VP-technology and innovation.

The rapid-fire creation of the relief fund is an example of how individuals, politicians and businesses in Boston unite in a crisis, Mr. Sheehan said in an interview Friday. Communicating mostly by text-message, about a dozen key players at Hill Holliday, Hancock and the Mayor's Office managed to create the foundation from scratch.

By Friday it had raised an estimated $10 million and counting from corporate contributors and individual donors.

Among them: Hancock; Bain Capital; AT&T; Adidas; Bank of America; Partners HealthCare; JetBlue and Boston ad agency Mullen, plus Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox; the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics; the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins; TD Boston Garden (home of the Celtics and Bruins) and the NHL Players Association.

"Boston is a big city, but it's a small town," said Mr. Sheehan, who closed the Interpublic Group shop Friday as the manhunt continued for one of the bombing suspects. "When Mayor Menino wants something done, there's instant cooperation and not an ounce of bureaucracy."

During the 10 a.m. conference call Tuesday, John Hancock pledged to get the new fund rolling with a $1 million donation. With the Mayor's office wanting to announce the creation of the fund at a 5 p.m. press conference Tuesday night, that didn't leave Hill Holliday much time.

Remembering the dozens of charities that splintered corporate and individual fund-raising after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City, Mr. Sheehan coined the name "One Fund" as a way to centralize fund-raising.

He asked agency designer James Adame to create a new logo from scratch. Within 20 minutes, Mr. Adame drew up the logo: a blue and gold flag dominated by a large No. 1, with the words "One Fund" on top and "Boston/2013" across the bottom.

They sent the logo over to Mayor's office and Mr. Gallagher for approval. Hizzoner and advisor Jack Connors, the former Hill Holliday chief turned Boston-area philanthropist, signed off on the proposed logo by 11 a.m.

Next came the creation of the website. The agency's technologist, John Running, registered multiple "One Fund" domains on his personal credit card. Hill Holliday used PayPal to set up the mechanism to accept donations. Law firm Goodwin Procter (which works with both Hill Holliday and Hancock), volunteered to register the fund and handle legal paperwork.

By 5 p.m. Tuesday night, the new One Fund Boston was operational and the site was accepting donations at The number of individual donors ran to the thousands by Friday.

The NBA will alert viewers about the One Fund during ESPN/ABC's coverage of the Celtics-New York Knicks playoff series that starts Saturday with Game 1 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, said spokesman Mike Bass. The league will also drive basketball fans to the fund by adding links to media assets such as

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